Tarring and gritting

Last month’s Editorial about tarring and gritting has gone home. Among the letters it produced there is one from a member of the E. Suffolk County Council (and owner of the latest Reliant Scimitar GTE) who raised the matter at a Council Meeting, as did another Councillor. When it was suggested that cold asphalt would be far better than tar and chippings for road repairs, the Chairman of the Highways Committee said this would cost eight times as much. But he admitted that loose chippings could not be entirely eradicated by rolling. What is most interesting is that it was confirmed that several claims from car owners, whose cars had been covered in tar and damaged by chippings laid at Gt. Barton near Bury St. Edmunds, were being handled by the W. Suffolk C.C.’s insurers. So it seems well worth suing for broken screens and chipped paintwork.

Another letter said just what we had expected, the writer criticising us for saving that broken windscreens result even when drivers drop from 70 to 45 m.p.h. on newly-gritted surfaces, because they should be doing 25 m.p.h. We did not intend to imply that 45 is slow enough, only that if you are doing 70 and come round a bend onto a beach-like stretch of road, on which, says our correspondent, you must not brake hard, getting speed down to 45 m.p.h. in the distance available is all that can be expected—apart from those drivers who hardly slow at all. We are also taken to task for suggesting that the chippings used will cut tyres, which may not always be so; but small flints work into the tread and eventually destroy a tyre and with a licence endorsement pending for every faulty tyre on a car, asking us to roll in stones of any size just shouldn’t be tolerated.

After writing the item about tarring and gritting I was smugly pleased to see a newly-laid piece of horror end exactly at the Welsh border. Since then, however, the Welsh have capitulated, for by July the A44 in Radnorshire had odd stretches of gritty beach imposed upon it, with no warning signs about taking it slowly, and I immediately encountered a Daimler Sovereign, the holiday for whose occupants had been interrupted by a broken screen—the first of many ? So let us protest, and claim damages, until this antiquated method of road making is abandoned. At present there is no rhyme or reason to it, main highways being strewn with quarry stones, close to where little-used minor roads get a fine dressing of cold asphalt. And if the latter does cost more, surely it endures longer ? — W. B.

Snake-skin driving gloves

I do not normally wear driving gloves, but occasionally a car comes along for test with an unusually slippery or sweat-promoting steering wheel, like the Alfa Romeo 2000, which makes gloves seem more desirable. This reminds me that a new kind has recently come on the market, made of very soft snake-skin (which is bad luck for reptiles) for the palms, backed with lightweight nylon mesh. They are claimed to be of the finest leather ever used for such gloves, and give very sensitive feel allied to excellent grip. Too “with-it” for me, these gloves will no doubt appeal to any fast drivers. They are made by KirGloves Hitchin Limited, Bury Mead Road, Hitchin, Herts, and are available in three sizes, for ladies and boys, are washable, and cost £2.50 per pair. — W. B.

A super food flask

The driver who likes to achieve high average speeds on long journeys finds all his best endeavours frittered away if stops are indulged in. So it is often his or her policy to carry food and drink in the car. A thirst-quencher is especially important, of which I find Bovril an excellent non-sick-making drink. To carry fluids or hot food I find Aladdin’s 32 oz. Super Food Flask a very useful piece of car equipment. It is made of strong polypropylene with one-piece jacket and handle and a unique feature is that should the glass vacuum flask break no glass can get into the contents. It sells for £1.27, p.t. paid. Lone drivers may prefer these high quality beige and red Aladdin flasks in the 16 oz. size (£1.04). — W. B.